Comments on the NBA and NHL finals.

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nba

NBA

Game 1 will tip off Thursday. That gives the “old” Celtics time to recover from injuries to PG Rajon Rondo and C Kendrick Perkins. The schedule of the Finals will allow more rest than the Celtics to play at a very high level of energy.

One thing that came out of the last game against game against the Magic was the outstanding performance by the diminutive PG Nate Robinson. Robinson had not played much in the post season but came off the bench to replace Rondo and scored 13 point, got 2 rebounds and a steal.

The Lakers have some injury issues of their own. C Andrew Bynum had fluid removed from his right knee which has given him trouble for most of his career.

The format of the finals gives the team with home court advantage an additional benefit. With the 2-3-2 format, the team without HC advantage usually struggles to win all 3 games on their court.

Keys to the series:

1. The biggest key is who is going to stop Rondo from controlling the Celtic O. When he has been distributing the ball and driving to the hoop, the team has been unbeatable. He has averaged nearly 17 points and 10 assists per game in the playoffs. The Magic didn’t have an answer for Rondo and neither did the Cavs. The biggest question who gets the assignment to stop Rondo?

Laker PG Fisher is not nearly quick enough to slow Rondo. Bryant would be another prospect but by spending his energy on the D end of the floor could hurt his scoring. The backup Gs on the team are not known for their D. One possibility would be Ron Artest. When he feels like doing the job he is an effective defender but is not as quick as Rondo.

2. Which Kevin Garnett will show up? When he is on, the Celtics are really active on the O side of the floor. But at 34 he takes some quarters off. He can not do that against the Lakers and expect the Celtics to win.

nhlogo

NHL

In the first 2 games, the Flyers have outplayed the Black Hawks but come up short twice on the scoreboard. Now the series goes back to Philly and we will see if the Hawks can shake off the cobwebs to play at the level they have in previous series.

If the Flyers win the games at home convincingly, expect them to steal one in Chicago and win the series. The Hawks need to win one in Philly to prove to themselves as well as the opponents. If not, the Flyers could well win the championship.

The first two games were as different as they could be. Game 1 looked like an NBA All star game where nobody even tried to play D in a 6-5 win for Chicago. Game 2 was much better hockey and ended up 2-1. Expect the games in Philly to look a lot more like the 2-1 game than the 6-5 game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NHL,NBA,NHL Finals,NBA Finals,Boston Celtics,Lakers,Rondo,Bynam,Garnett,Fisher,Artest,Black Hawks,Flyers,NBA All Star Game
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  • Author:
  • Published: Jun 9th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NFL takes a little piece of home to our troops overseas.

The NFL takes a little piece of home to our troops overseas.

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I complain a lot about sports leagues, teams and players because in part that is why our readers come to this site. That’s why we call it Fryingpan Sports. I try to congratulate those that do things right and do the right things. The NFL has done one thing right for a long time.

Since 1966 the NFL has officially joined forces with the USO to entertain our troops around the world. This program has never been needed more than now. Those men and women protecting our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan look forward to anything that can remind them of home. The USO and the NFL program has been doing that for thousands of US soldiers.

The program includes visits to the front by players and coaches, Super Bowl parties in camps around the world, and one of the most popular features, more than 60 visits by the Dallas Cheerleaders.

But there were trips before 1966. Individual players and teams have organized trips to meet and entertain the troops before the program became an official part of the NFL.

Former Steeler head coach Bill Cowher and ex Buc coach Jon Gruden will join Titan coach Jeff Fisher and Ravens coach John Harbaugh in trips to Iraq and Afghanistan this off season.

I want to thank every player, coach and cheerleader that has taken the time to give back to those that risk their lives to keep us safe. Well done and thank you to those that visit our troops and the troops themselves.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,USO,TROOPS,Iraq,Afghanistan,Cowher,Gruden,Fisher,Harbaugh,Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders,NFL Football
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Saturday Niblets for 6/6/09

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Today is the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. My Dad was the first American on Omaha Red beach 2 hours before the invasion. Today, we salute all those that risked or gave their lives to help free Europe from Hitler.

Best Email of the last 2 weeks: from James on “The Cavs are a 1972 Comet with a Ferrari engine.” too bad Lebron and the Cavs failed to reach the championships… was rooting for them! I just do not know what will happen of the team if Kobe comes in… the dynamics of team will likely change, but if they get past that they’d get a huge chance in grabbing the title next year…

James: The chances of Kobe coming are very slim. But you are exactly correct in that the team is going to have to have a rebuild this off season to become a championship caliber team in time to win a title for LeBron next season. Thanks for your comment.

Updates on previous columns:

Mangenious and his Magical Bus trip

The NFLPA is investigating the Magical Bus trip of 10 hours each way to the football camp outside of Hartford Conn. that Eric Mangini forced on the 19 Browns rookies. Of course Mangini flew to Hartford and was planning to fly back until someone smarter than him suggested how bad that would look. Let’s hope the league fines Mangenious a couple of hundred thousand dollars and gives it to those that took the bus.

LeBron is LeGone

Lebron James was fined $25,000 by the NBA for failing to speak to the media after the loss to the Magic in game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals. Initially, the league announced that he would not be fined. In an interview on ESPN Radio, Comm. Stern the day after that announcement was made, Stern said he was looking into the issue.

What do you do with a young benched starting QB?

Titans coach Jeff Fisher told the press that “eventually” Vince Young will be the starting QB. Fisher told the press that Young has been spending time in the weight room.

My Advice: Vince, get out of the weight room and camp in the film room. The problem is your understanding of the playbook and reading coverage not your arm strength.

Niblets fresh off the cob:

The NFLPA reaches a settlement with retired players

Retired NFL players had filed suit against the NFLPA to get a part of the money flow of the various marketing deals that the NFLPA gets. According to ex-Packer and Hall of Fame DB Herb Adderley who filed the suit, the settlement gives retired players 26.25 million dollars. This is only one issue between current and retired players.

Exec. Dir. DeMaurice Smith told a meeting of active and retired players that benefits for retired players would be reduced by 80% if the NFL Owners lock the players out after 2011. This will be one more potential suit for Adderley to file against the NFLPA.

The Lakers win game 1 by 25.

The Lakers looked good Thursday night against the Magic. According to several sources, the Lakers are much more focused in the finals because of their loss last year to the Celtics. We will see. If they play the way they did against the Nuggets, the Lakers will lose again. Magic C Dwight Howard is not going to score just 12 points often. Neither returning all star PG Jameer Nelson or Rafer Alston played particularly well. Nelson, coming off an injury, should get better with more practice to shake off the rust.

The NHL series is all tied up.

After Pittsburgh won the first two games at home, many pundants wrote that the series was over. Not so fast. The Red Wings looked tired and slow compared to the younger Penguins. The scheduling of back to back games has helped the Pens. But to win, the Pens are going to have to win game 5 at Detroit. I don’t believe that they can win a game 7 in hostile territory against a seasoned team like the Wings.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: D-Day,LeBron,James,Kobe,Bryant,Young,Titans,Fisher,NFLPA,Smith,Adderley,Lakers,Cavs,Magic,Pittsburgh,Detroit,NHL,NBA,NFL,NFL Draft,NBA Draft,Alston,Nelson,Howard
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  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 30th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Will Vince Young ever be an NFL quality QB?

Will Vince Young ever be an NFL quality QB?

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Fryingpan Sports

Will Vince Young ever be an NFL quality QB?

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Kerry Collins and Vince Young

By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: Collins,Young,Titans,NFL FOotball,Fisher,Texas,Longhorns,college football,NFL Draft

This week head coach of the Titans Jeff Fisher said that he wants Kerry Collins, the 36 year old free agent, back as the starter in 2009. That was bad news for Vince Young.

Collins played well but not spectacularly in 08 leading the Titans to the best record in the AFC with a QB rating of 80.2. He threw 12 TDs and 7 interceptions but managed the game very well taking maximum advantage of one of the top running games in the league. He had threatened to retire unless he was “promised” a starting job. He has never been a top QB and has a career passing rating of only 73.8.

Young was the 3rd overall pick in the 06 draft. He took over the starting QB spot in the 4th game of 06 and led the team to an 8-5 record including 6 wins in a row. The wins overshadowed a less than acceptable performance by Young. He had a QB rating of just 66.7 with 12 touchdowns but 13 interceptions. In 07 he started 15 game missing only week 7 against Houston due to injury. However, he was relieved by Collins in 4 other games. He took the Titans to an 9-6 record but again was only able to manage a 71.1 passer rating with 9 TDs and 17 interceptions. That is not acceptable in the NFL.

By the start of the 08 season Fisher decided that Young needed a little more seasoning. He sat and Collins started.

So why couldn’t a top draft choice like Young beat out a weak armed transient veteran like Collins? Right now the Titans are wondering if Young will ever become an NFL quality quarterback.

Young can’t read defenses. At Texas, he never had to. He would look for his primary receiver. If that guy was covered, he would run. There wasn’t much of a play book which suited Young just fine. Young was so good an athlete that he didn’t need one. He and the Longhorns used his athleticism to win games. In the NFL, he makes bad reads that result in interceptions. Coaches who let a QB throw more picks than touchdowns get fired.

In the NFL, Young struggled with his footwork and that led to inaccuracy. In Texas, he worked from a shotgun most of the time. While all young QBs coming from a college spread offense have a learning curve, Young never seemed to turn the corner. He made exactly the same read mistakes in game 17 that he made in game 1. He also tended to stare down a receiver. That leads to picks.

He also won’t throw the ball unless the receiver is open. In the NFL, you have to throw a receiver open. You throw the ball to give the receiver a chance to make the play. Players in college are wide open most of the time. In the NFL, the weakest CB is better than the best CB on any college team. Receivers don’t get that open. Young never developed the anticipation necessary to make big plays in the NFL. Watching Kurt Warner will show what great anticipation can do for a QB and a team.

The NFL uses much more complex defenses than college. Most colleges use man and zone and some use a zone blitz. In the NFL, there are combination man/zone defenses, rotating zones, and dozens of multiple blitzes. An NFL QB must be able to learn what an opponent does and adjust to it on the fly. He has to process this information, determine who will be open based on the coverage and get rid of the ball in no more than 2.5 seconds. Young has not been able to do that and worse yet, he may never be able to.

There are indications that he may be too emotional to ever be a successful NFL QB. When a team wins, the QB is loved by everyone. When a the team loses, too often the QB is the goat. Young never had to experience that much in high school or at Texas. He has not taken it well in the pros.

The truth is that the biggest problem might be that Young just isn’t smart enough to be an NFL QB. He scored 6 on the Wonderlic Test. If you can’t learn the playbook, and remember the tenancies of the opponent, you won’t win in the NFL. You have to have reviewed so much that you can anticipate exactly what coverage you are going to see. If they change coverage just before the snap, an NFL QB needs to have seen enough film to know what they will do and where the gaps in coverage will be. Young just can’t do that.

In my opinion, Young will never make it as a starting NFL QB. He is such a great athlete that he could be spectacular as the wildcat QB. He would be better off as a slash type QB along the lines of Kordell Stewart. The sooner that the Titans realize that and make other arrangements for a QB of the future, the better off they will be in the long run.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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